07/13/2009 11:10 PM | WAM
Abu Dhabi: The Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Charity Foundation and The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) signed a cooperation and partnership agreement under which the UAE agency will finance GAIN's efforts to reduce deaths and disabilities associated with nutritional deficiencies in Afghanistan, particularly among women and children.
The agreement signed on Sunday by Mohammad Hajji Al Khoury, executive director of the foundation, and Marc Van Ameringen, executive director of GAIN, will benefit 15 million people.
GAIN mobilises public-private partnerships and provides financial and technical support to deliver healthier foods and supplements to people most at risk of malnutrition.
GAIN will use the grant from the foundation to ensure increased consumption of fortified foods (wheat flour, vegetable oil and ghee, and salt), and fortified complementary foods for children aged between six and 24 months. The funding will also support national efforts to generate sustained political support and commitment for the reduction of malnutrition. The goal of the three-year project is to increase the amount of vitamins and minerals in people's daily diets and to reduce disabilities related to insufficient nutrients by 30 per cent.
"Afghanistan has the third highest infant mortality rate [140 per 1,000 live births] in the world, after Sierra Leone and Angola, and is ranked second in the world for maternal mortality with an average of 1,600 deaths for every 100,000 live births," said Van Ameringen. "GAIN, whose vision is a world without malnutrition, has a major role to play in this part of the world thanks to the support of the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation," he said.
With the financial support of the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, GAIN will implement projects in the areas of mass food fortification, infant and young child nutrition and policy advocacy and capacity building.
"If malnutrition is not tackled now, the country's economic, social and intellectual capacity will be compromised," said Al Khoury. "We are proud to be supporting GAIN to build the capacity of government and industry in Afghanistan to make a difference in Afghani lives through provision of nutritious food over the long term."